So this game was pretty frustrating. I know, I know, the Spurs won; but that doesn’t mean I didn’t want to claw my eyes out watching it. To be honest, I didn’t watch it live. I was tending to other business, and when I came home I watched the game on Synergy and nearly vomited. This game against Utah was extremely sloppy, so much that I don’t even know how to go about recapping it.
I guess I can just ramble a bit about one or two things that happened in the game and then end it. I don’t want to really go too hard into stats or anything, because this recap is going to be mailed in, much lie the game tonight was. Does that sound good for everyone? If not, too bad, this is my recap, and you’ve already give me a page-view. So I win anyways.
First off, I’d like to address the corner three that Marvin Williams had at the end of regulation to send it into overtime. If you’ve seen the play, then you’ve probably deduced that Manu Ginobili made a horrible play on the ball and flew by Williams. And, really, that deduction would be correct. But, what is better to focus on is why he made a bad closeout.
Originally on this play, Ginobili was matched up against Randy Foye, Utah’s best three point shooter. Utah ran a pick-and-roll with Mo Williams and Al Jefferson. On that play, after the screen, Williams flipped the ball back to Jefferson who was just below the top of the arc. Regularly, a defense would just have the point guard run at Jefferson and force him to either shoot or swing the ball, while still denying the three point shot. On this play, however, Manu Ginobili left his man on the wing and came over to try and double Jefferson. As that happened, it forced Marvin Williams’s man, Danny Green to make a quick rotation onto Foye, so he didn’t take a three. After that, Foye quickly swung the ball to Williams in the corner, who was being run at by a scrambling, out-of-control Ginobili. From there, Williams gave a slight upfake to get open, then nailed the three.
This was a bone-headed mistake by Ginobili, who should have been aware that the Spurs were up three at the time, and then stayed on Foye, denying the three. Instead, he caused a “pick your poison” scenario for the Jazz, because Foye is such a great shooter, and Williams is a great shooter from the corners. Ginobili realized his mistake after the game, and discussed it with the media in the post-game presser.
“I don’t know what I was thinking. Completely (blacked) out. Terrible mistake. I’m disappointed. I’m sorry that I let my teammates down…Today we won it, but in a playoff game it could have been even an elimination. So, I’m very sorry. And it was an awful distraction.”–Manu Ginobili on his defensive mistake (h/t to @Matthew_Tynan for putting these on Twitter)
In addition to all of the bad play in this game, there were a couple bright spots that I can talk about. In his first game back, Tony Parker looked pretty good from the floor. He scored 22 points on 8-13 shooting, and had 5 assists. He didn’t show off the normal speed that we’re used to seeing from him, but that’s to bee expected as most people are tentative when coming back from an ankle sprain. As the game wore on, he became much more comfortable, and started to look more and more like himself.
Kawhi Leonard was also a bright spot in the game, scoring 21 points on 9-14 shooting, as well as going 3-4 from three. One of those threes, mind you, was to put the Spurs up with about a minute left in the game. His improvement this year has been exponential, and I really don’t have a problem with anyone calling him the Spurs third best player at this point. He’s become a consistent scorer, and brings energy and an ability to make plays on defense. I say this a lot, but I feel I need to hammer it home: This guy’s potential is very, very exciting.
Lastly, Tim Duncan played well again. After coming off a 3 game stretch scoring at least 25 points and getting 13 rebounds, he put up a similar line tonight. Duncan had 19 and 16 tonight, and although he was off from the field (4-13), he got to the FT line enough to be productive.
If it were my way, everything other than those three guys would be buried away. Ginobili and Splitter especially were horrible tonight (Splitter let Al Jefferson, AL JEFFERSON OF ALL PEOPLE, shut him down. Watching him tonight made me want to vomit.), and the rest of the team as a whole was pretty bad. Everything was sloppy, passes were being tipped, and there were a bunch of turnovers. But, thankfully the Spurs have Coach Popovich. For, even tonight, with such bad play, there was cause for celebration Tonight was Pop’s 900th career win, and I’m confident that he does everything in his power to make sure San Antonio is prepared for a rough schedule this coming week.